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A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data

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  • Philippe Février

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  • Michael Visser

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Abstract

This paper reports the results of an experiment in which subjects had to buy real products in 5 different budget/price situations. Subjects were randomly drawn from the population of a medium-sized French city, and some of their socio-economic characteristics were recorded. We check the consistency of product choices with the Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preferences (GARP), and find that 29% of the subjects are GARP-inconsistent. This inconsistency rate is slightly lower than the ones found in comparable studies. A possible explanation for our lower rate of GARP violations might be that the subjects in our study were confronted with less budget/price situations. In looking for determinants of the GARP violations, we find that gender, the size of the household, the degree of switching between different products, and the times spent on performing experimental tasks have significant impacts on the probability of GARP-inconsistency. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Février & Michael Visser, 2004. "A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 93-114, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:7:y:2004:i:1:p:93-114
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1026266122863
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-973, July.
    2. Philippe Février & Michael Visser, 2004. "A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 93-114, February.
    3. Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Revealed preference with a subset of goods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 179-185, October.
    4. Cox, James C, 1997. "On Testing the Utility Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1054-1078, July.
    5. Reinhard Sippel, 1996. "A Note on the Power of Revealed Preference Tests with Afriat Inefficiency," Discussion Paper Serie A 303 DP No. A--528, University of Bonn, Germany.
    6. Hal R. Varian, 1983. "Non-parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110.
    7. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-597, June.
    8. Raymond Battalio & Leonard Green & John Kagel, 1995. "Economic choice theory. an experimental analysis of animal behavior," Framed Field Experiments 00166, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Sippel, Reinhard, 1997. "An Experiment on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1431-1444, September.
    10. Battalio, Raymond C & Dwyer, Gerald P, Jr & Kagel, John H, 1987. "Tests of Competing Theories of Consumer Choice and the Representative Consumer Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388), pages 842-856, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sam Cosaert & Thomas Demuynck, 2015. "Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 59(1), pages 169-200, May.
    2. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2006. "Two-stage Boundedly Rational Choice Procedures: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 561, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. Philippe Février & Michael Visser, 2004. "A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 93-114, February.
    4. Cox, James C., 2010. "Some issues of methods, theories, and experimental designs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 24-28, January.
    5. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00449463 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Marc-Arthur Diaye & François Gardes & Christophe Starzec, 2009. "GARP violation, economic environment distortions and shadow prices: Evidence from household expenditure panel data," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 09020, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    7. Douglas D. Davis & Edward L. Millner, 2005. "Rebates, Matches, and Consumer Behavior," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 410-421, October.
    8. Forges, Françoise & Iehlé, Vincent, 2014. "Afriat’s theorem for indivisible goods," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-6.
    9. Daniel John Zizzo & Melanie Parravano & Ryota Nakamura & Suzanna Forwood & Marc Suhrcke, 2016. "The impact of taxation and signposting on diet: an online field study with breakfast cereals and soft drinks," Working Papers 131cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    10. repec:eee:jetheo:v:169:y:2017:i:c:p:546-550 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Andreoni,J. & Harbaugh,W.T., 2005. "Power indices for revealed preference tests," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    12. Marc-Arthur Diaye & Michal Wong-Urdanivia, 2005. "A simple test of Richter-rationality," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques b06008, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    13. Heufer, Jan, 2014. "Nonparametric comparative revealed risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 569-616.
    14. Moscati, Ivan & Tubaro, Paola, 2009. "Random behavior and the as-if defense of rational choice theory in demand experiments," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27001, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. repec:spr:infosf:v:8:y:2006:i:5:d:10.1007_s10796-006-9013-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Pires Gonçalves, Ricardo, 2008. "Consumer Behavior: Product Characteristics and Quality Perception," MPRA Paper 11142, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D & Combs, T. Dalton & Kodaverdian, Niree, 2015. "Consistency in Simple vs. Complex Choices over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 10457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Jan Heufer & Paul van Bruggen, 2016. "Afriat in the Lab," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-095/I, Tinbergen Institute.

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